ORLANDO, Fla. — The gunman who went on a shooting rampage in a popular gay nightclub here shot nearly all of his victims in the first stages of the assault, then was utterly “cool and calm” while he talked by phone to law enforcement officials about further carnage, claimed allegiance to the Islamic State and praised the Boston Marathon bombers, officials said on Monday.
As officials offered new details about the worst mass shooting in American history, which left 49 people dead and 53 wounded, Chief John Mina of the Orlando Police Department said that the gunman, Omar Mateen, 29, told police negotiators — falsely, they later discovered — that he had explosives and accomplices at Pulse nightclub.
Mr. Mateen eventually made comments persuading them that “there would be an imminent loss of life,” Chief Mina said, prompting the chief to end a three-hour standoff and order the assault that killed Mr. Mateen and freed dozens of people trapped in the club.
President Obama, speaking to reporters at the White House, said it appeared the attack was “an example of the kind of homegrown extremism that all of us have been concerned about,” with a gunman who was inspired by radical material he found online.
Even as American military forces and intelligence agencies attack the Islamic State and other extremist groups, Mr. Obama said, “one of the biggest challenges we are going to have is this kind of propaganda and perversions of Islam that you see generated on the internet.”
New information also emerged Monday on Mr. Mateen, including frightening statements he made three years ago to co-workers at a local courthouse about being tied to terrorism, and that the resulting F.B.I. investigation was extensive, lasting 10 months.
Omar Mateen Credit via MySpace
“First he claimed family connections to Al Qaeda,” which, like the Islamic State, is a Sunni Muslim terrorist group, James Comey, the F.B.I. director, said Monday. “He also said he was a member of Hezbollah,” a Shiite group in conflict with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.
“He said he hoped that law enforcement would raid his apartment and assault his wife and child so that he could martyr himself,” Mr. Comey said.
“Our investigation involved introducing confidential sources to him, recording conversations with him, following him, reviewing transactional records from his communications,” and searching government records for mentions of him, the director said. “We then interviewed him twice. He admitted making the statements his co-workers reported, but explained that he did it in anger because he thought his co-workers were discriminating against him and teasing him because he was Muslim.”
Source Of News : Nytimes